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Denver Watercolor Class Teacher Dennis Pendleton

A Stroll Through Botanic Gardens

Watercolor Painting by Dennis Pendleton. Denver Botanic Gardens is in full bloom and I am teaching a watercolor workshop there this weekend. We always begin by wandering around one section of the gardens looking for different possibilities for painting. For me, with all the glorious arrangements, it can be difficult to settle on one small area. A viewer is helpful because it focuses my attention on different selections that I can choose from. In this case, I loved the rich colors scattered among the different green leaves so I set up to get started.

Time is always a factor when working on location and I have found that painting on a small format like 7x10 or 9x12 allows me to finish before the light changes too much. Starting with lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, transparent yellow, and yellow ochre, I painted some of the yellow flowers then surrounded them with different warm and cool greens. More soft edges were used in the different greens in contrast to the harder edges of the yellow flowers. I like using olive green because I can warm it up by adding different yellows and cool it down by adding different blues. Perylene green is the darkest green on my palette and I carefully add cerulean blue or olive green to get rich darks that are full of subtle temperature changes.

Working out from the yellow flowers I added cobalt violet mixed with cerulean blue to suggest other flowers. The tall blue flowers near the top of the composition are cerulean blue and ultramarine blue. Perylene green was used to represent the dark evergreen trees that were off in the distance.

Rather than having a strong focal point, I wanted to capture an impression of the garden that you would see as you strolled along one of the paths. To do this, I created different "effects" by placing light colors against dark colors and rich colors against muted colors. Different effects throughout the composition keep the viewers eye moving around the painting. This also means that every time you look at the painting it will appear interesting in a different way. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

My weekend watercolor workshop at Denver Botanic Gardens is this weekend July, 15, 16, & 17 and you can sign up for 1, 2, or all 3 days. The price is $95 for 1 day, $160 for 2 days, and $225 for all three days. If you are interested or would like more information send me an email to I have a similar Denver Botanic Gardens Workshop August 19, 20, & 21.


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